ASEAN to Firm up Regional Guideline on the Implementation of International Standards Related to SPS Measures

Jakarta, Indonesia - Around 48 officials from ASEAN Member States (AMS), Australia and New Zealand relevant agencies dealing with SPS measures and ASEAN Secretariat officers attended the Workshop on ASEAN Regional Guideline for Implementation of International Standards Related to Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) Measures in Gran Mahakam Hotel, 21-22 February 2018.

In his opening remarks, Director Tran Dong Phuong of the Sectoral Development Directorate of the ASEAN Secretariat emphasized the significance of the workshop as an important step in shaping a draft regional guideline and how collectively addressing common issues and challenges in agriculture and forestry could provide the foundation for future cooperation and enhancing ASEAN access to global markets.

The workshop, which was part of the ASEAN Regional Guideline for Implementation of International Standards Related to SPS Measures project, aimed to gather inputs from AMS on the draft review report on implementation of international standards, deliberate on key issues in developing SPS measures and share information and experiences of AMS, Australia and New Zealand in applying international standards related to SPS.

As a way of reviewing SPS standards, an overview of the SPS Agreement and international standards from the World Organization on Animal Health (OIE), International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) and Codex Alimentarius (Codex) or the collection of internationally adopted food standards was provided to the participants. Break-out sessions were also facilitated to flesh out the different challenges being encountered by the AMS and possible recommendations on the application of these international standards and guidelines.

Mr. Muhammad Rudy Khairudin bin Mohd Noor, ASEAN Co-Chair of the Sub-Committee on SPS, emphasized the significance of the workshop in discussing key issues faced by AMS in developing SPS measures based on international standards as well as finding ways forward in addressing these issues. It is crucial that from this workshop we capture the real issues and challenges faced by AMS in implementing SPS measures based on international standards, so that we can identify not only the current situation but also the way forward, said Mr. Rudy.

The workshop also facilitated the discussion on the roles of a regional guideline to support the implementation of international standards related to SPS by identifying its possible scope, methods or model of delivery and how it can address challenges identified by the AMS.

Dr. Ilona Stobutzki, Australia Co-Chair of the Sub-Committee on SPS, noted the importance of the workshop as an opportunity for ASEAN and its partners to foster implementation of international SPS guideline. "This is about enhancing regional trade in agri-food while managing biosecurity risks," cited by Dr. Ilona. In addition, Ms. Ursula Egan, Specialist Adviser for FTA SPS Implementation and Coordination, Ministry of Primary Industries of New Zealand, emphasized the importance of developing and implementing national standards based on international standards and guidelines in facilitating trade among AANZFTA Parties. Ms. Egan also highlighted that this activity builds on previous SPS co-operation projects that have develop capacity amongst ASEAN officials on SPS measures.

The workshop was organized by ASEAN Secretariat with support from the AANZFTA Economic Cooperation Support Program (AECSP).

This press release was jointly developed by the ASEAN Secretariat and the AECSP.

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